Spanish Steps

SpanishSteps_Barrett Doherty_2016_007.jpg
Washington, DC
United States
Spanish Steps

The material below is for informational purposes. TCLF does not own or maintain the park. Contact the DC Department of Parks and Recreation.

Constructed in 1911 at the height of the City Beautiful movement in Washington, D.C., the Decatur Terrace Steps and Fountain were a project of the District of Columbia Municipal Office of Public Works and Grounds. Constructed on a steep slope in the Kalorama neighborhood, the steps were intended to provide a pedestrian link between S Street and Decatur Place on a route thought too steep for vehicles. It is the only Washington public park that occupies a street.

Designed by architect Robert E. Cook, the broad concrete staircase has four levels. It is widest at its low, southern terminus near Decatur Place, transitioning upwards towards a shallow brick terrace and a second tier of stairs bordered by planting beds. Twin balustrade-lined steps curve around an oval-shaped basin containing a lion-head fountain before connecting to a broad brick terrace on S Street. The entire area is lined with a mix of magnolias, eastern red cedars, oaks, and other flowering trees.

Due to severe erosion and a car collision that destroyed the original stone balustrade and fountain, this unique public landscape was restored and rehabilitated in 1999. The steps are listed in the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing feature in the Sheridan-Kalorama Historic District, designated in 1989.